di Cynthia Penna



Please allow me to make a personal recollection.
In 1966 Michelangelo Antonioni’s movie Blow Up was projected in the movie theatres and we, a generation that had only just entered adolescence, all became, suddenly and as if by magic, photographers..! We all had cameras hanging from our necks, as we travelled (with our parents!!) in Italy, Europe and the World in pursuit of a way to express our freedom.
England and America was our shared dream, because they represented everything that was revolutionary and new, in absolute terms, and the camera had become an expression of all that.
I won an automatic Kodak by participating in a competition in the weekly “Epoca” (by way of parenthesis, by “guessing” which team would win the soccer world cup: needless to say, my beloved England!!!!) and began to tinker with it, and take my first photographs.
Given my interest and enthusiasm, my father then gave me his bifocal Rolleiflex which he in his turn had received from my grandfather, and it was then that I first felt I had become an adult and I had decided what I wanted to become: a photographer…!!
As the years went by my passion became stronger; I took lessons from a photographer who was quite famous in Naples at the time, who taught me some secrets about taking pictures, and about the darkroom: an incredible world in which it was possible to invent, transform and create a new reality. I was enraptured.
In the no less than 30 years which have passed since I have constantly been accompanied by my passion, and even if I eventually did not become a professional photographer, the simple tactile relationship with a camera still gives me a very intense and profound feeling today. Not to mention the sound of the click, of the shot: the moment when the shutter opens, the film is impressed with the light and the creation realized; the instant is frozen, a fragment of existence immortalized for ever: everything happens in a tenth of a second, the time of a shot: a tenth of a second, and the immortal time of things and the world, past and future merge; the past is handed down to the future in an exchange that has something magic about it: the time barrier is broken.
I own more than 10000 analogical photographs and slides which I cannot even classify correctly. To me photography is a framing, geometric lines to balance, a space to manage, light in thousands of variants, colours also in black and white images, time and times: time spent waiting for the right image, time of reaction to an event, speed and pause, visual/motoric/emotional acceleration and … pause, reflection, concentration, wait.
Now, more than 40 years since I took my firs photograph, I feel ready to organize a photography exhibition; it is something I feel very strongly about.
I have been looking for years for something which went beyond a descriptive and realistic photography, and in the end I have found something new and completely different from what I have shared with myself and created for years in conceptual photography.
It is a matter of a homage to the one among the arts which has not only been the most congenial to me, but which has accompanied me throughout my life with its enormous sense of freedom: a conscious and not absolute freedom, because it is governed by technical rules defined by the limits of the medium; a freedom which must be sought within these limits, but which is all the more loved precisely because it has been conquered through research, work and difficulties.
But the end reward is a great emotion, one that only a truly creative act can give!